Design and synthesis of a series of bioavailable fatty acid synthase (FASN) KR domain inhibitors for cancer therapy

Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2018 Jul 1;28(12):2159-2164. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2018.05.014. Epub 2018 May 8.


We designed and synthesized a new series of fatty acid synthase (FASN) inhibitors with potential utility for the treatment of cancer. Extensive SAR studies led to highly active FASN inhibitors with good cellular activity and oral bioavailability, exemplified by compound 34. Compound 34 is a potent inhibitor of human FASN (IC50 = 28 nM) that effectively inhibits proliferation of A2780 ovarian cells (IC50 = 13 nM) in lipid-reduced serum (LRS). This cellular activity can be rescued by addition of palmitate, consistent with an on-target effect. Compound 34 is also active in many other cell types, including PC3M (IC50 = 25 nM) and LnCaP-Vancouver prostate cells (IC50 = 66 nM), and is highly bioavailable (F 61%) with good exposure after oral administration. In a pharmacodynamics study in H460 lung xenograft-bearing mice, oral treatment with compound 34 results in elevated tumor levels of malonyl-CoA and decreased tumor levels of palmitate, fully consistent with the desired target engagement.

Keywords: Cancer; Cell proliferation; Enzyme inhibitor; Fatty acid synthase; SAR; X-ray crystal structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Design*
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemical synthesis
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acid Synthase, Type I / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Fatty Acid Synthase, Type I / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Imidazoles / administration & dosage
  • Imidazoles / chemical synthesis
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Imidazoles
  • FASN protein, human
  • Fatty Acid Synthase, Type I